Orange UK to offer hard disk phones

The Register are reporting that Orange UK are looking at offering the Nokia N91 and the Samsung SGH-i300 hard disk phones in conjunction with its Orange Music Converter PC software. The software currently runs on eleven models although Orange are said to be looking at increasing this number to include more youth-market and budget phones. The software converts unprotected MP3s and WMAs into the efficient AAC+ format.

El Reg are comparing the sound quality to that of a 96kbps MP3 (i.e. something like FM radio quality):

"The big news is the Orange Music Converter, a rather nifty bit of software for your PC which enables users to convert tracks they have stored on their PC's hard disk into the AAC+ format which is compatible with the Orange Music Player. It works with MP3s and WMAs, but obviously not DRM-ed WMA and AAC tracks downloaded from Napster, iTunes et al. The reason you might want to do this is that the AAC+ tracks take up just 700k of space on a storage card as opposed to 3/4MB of a full MP3 track. So your 512MB SD card instantly now holds the same as a two Gig card would if loaded with MP3s. There is obviously a slight trade off in terms of sound quality though not as much as you might think. Probably the best comparison is MP3 at 96kbbps. From now on users will also be able control the tracks they have downloaded via Orange (they start at £1 a shot) using a web page. The page lists the tracks they currently own and enables the user to take the music to and from their mobile. Even if their handset is stolen they can automatically transfer the tracks they have paid for to their next phone."


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